What once began as a small fishing village in the 1800’s is now a bustling coastal cosmopolitan city. Tiny temples, lantern clad alleyways and mouthwatering dim sum clash wonderfully with towering glass skyscrapers that scrape the skyline illuminated by colourful night time light shows. A fusion of East and West, this is Hong Kong.
Cathay Pacific are one popular airline that are taking responsible steps towards greener flights. For example all in flight menus are printed on paper from sustainably managed forests, and they are the first airline to invest in a biojet fuel company, which can reduce CO2 emissions by 80%! Fly into Hong Kong International Airport (HKG). As a UK resident no visa is needed, and you’ll be pleased to know that getting around here is easy. You can easily get a taxi or train into the city from the airport, and to get around once you’ve checked in use the MTR.
Where to stay?
Hong Kong Island won my heart as accommodation in central Hong Kong proved to be cramped and quite expensive. The island is also a great area to be based if you like to mix in some green spaces with your city exploration. I opted for a family run hostel in the Wan Chai district. Before you set off to begin your adventure, download the free app Maps.Me as it gives you clear directions without using data.
What can I do in 48 hours?
Take in the streets and sip the smells of pavement side eateries on your way up to Hong Kong Park and The Botanical Gardens. Here you are elevated above the city and you get to experience both the architecture of the buildings and the beauty of the lush local flora and fauna. It is an uphill walk, so if you prefer not to hike catch the MTR (underground train) to the closest station.
Take the Star Ferry to Kowloon. Jump onboard with a single ticket to take you across the water for views of this diverse island. It’s from here that you can appreciate the skyline and how the buildings are nestled into the hills. You’ll arrive at Kowloon and can from here then purchase a ticket for a harbour tour, by day or night. We however wanted more time exploring on foot so bought two single tickets and once we had taken in the view, headed diagonally across by boat to the centre of Hong Kong Island.
From the central pier head forward towards the towering modern buildings, until you arrive in front of the HSBC building. It’s worth walking underneath and around it to see the architecture, then head right to see the designer shops and head towards Soho.
Ride the longest escalator in the world – well the longest outdoor covered escalator to be exact! It is 800m long and is a great way to get up the hill and experience the contrast between the flashy designer shops and the more traditional, local areas. On route you’ll also get to see an array of colourful buildings, tasty places to eat and hip juice bars – so hop on and off as you please on the way to the top!
From the top walk back down and head for Man Mo Temple. This is a tiny Chinese temple nestled amongst skyscrapers and tower blocks. Donation upon entry and the interior is beautifully heavy with incense.
Victoria Peak is accessible by the footpaths through the woods or by the peak tram. You can go to the top by day or by night. Hint: check the weather forecast when you go up. This may sound odd but due to the peak’s height, it could be a clear night at the bottom but at the top covered in mist. We made this mistake and couldn’t see 5 metres in front of us! It’s supposed to be an amazing view of the city though, and you’ll never forget the tram ride up the mountain!
Have you been to Hong Kong Island and managed to fit more in than I did? Share your tips and let us know what you got up to!